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Crouch Yacht Club Harry Croker Trophy

by Phillip Harbott on 2 Jun 28 May 2017
The Harry Croker Trophy © Phillip Harbott

A thunderstorm delayed the start to the Crouch Yacht Club's local handicap regatta, and when it cleared, the race officer got the boats away, twenty minutes later.

The windward mark was Fairway No.7 and Roger Noble's SJ27, Grace and Danger, had the best start; close to the line and to weather of the other boats. The Corby 29, Double Trouble owned by Duncan and Beccy Hayley, the highest rated boat in the fleet was next, and with her better pointing and water line length speed, quickly took the lead on the water. Digger Harden and Pete Jackson's J80 Glorious Fools started a little late and in more foul tide, chasing down the leaders. Double Trouble rounded the windward mark first closely followed by Grace and Danger and spinnakers were hoisted for the reach to Fairway No. 15.,which saw Glorious Fools sail over the SJ27. From No. 15 the fleet put in a couple of gybes towards Cliff and then fetched to Canewdon with the positions not changing.

Double Trouble tried their asymmetric but found that it overpowered them, which allowed Glorious Fools to close the gap. There was a beat to No.13 and then a fetch down river to No.9 followed by a reach to Cliff Reach in a freshening breeze. The homeward leg saw some strong gusts, and Double Trouble took line honours with Glorious Fools second, followed by Grace and Danger. On corrected time Double Trouble was 1st with Grace and Danger 2nd and Glorious Fools 3rd.

With the increased winds the Race Officer decided to postpone race 2 looking to sail two on the Sunday. Sunday dawned with light winds, but just about consistent enough to race. The first race took the fleet up river to Cliff Reach, and the boats beat up. Double Trouble again led the fleet after Grace and Danger got yet another great start. Glorious Fools overhauled Roger Noble in Grace and Danger quickly, and this order stayed the same. As the fleet rounded Cliff Reach, Glorious Fools had clawed back a little at Double Trouble, and the big wind shifts caused the helms to work hard throughout the race. Digger Harden in Glorious Fools just pipped Double Trouble to take line honours but Grace and Danger were close to these boats and saved her time to take the win.

The final race was started soon after and again took the fleet the to Cliff Reach. The wind by this time was very fickle, and both Double Trouble and Grace and Danger kedged attached Cliff Reach. This was a very challenging part time of the race for the help s and crew, since the land and sea breezes were fighting each other, and spinnakers were being carried by boats in both directions. Eventually, Glorious Fools managed to make good progress down to the finish, taking line honours, with Double Trouble second on the water, and Grace and Danger third. On corrected time, Glorious Fools took her first win of the series. The spread of wins across the fleet meant that all boats were tied on 6 points, but Digger Harden and Pete Jackson's J80 Glorious Fools won, with Double Trouble, owned by Duncan and Beccy Hayley, second and Grace and Danger owned by Roger Noble, Stephen Gosling and Andrew Courts, helmed this weekend by Roger Noble, third.

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